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What is Acne: Understanding Fact Versus Fiction

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Acne Treatments, Acne Experiences, Acne Facts

What is Acne: Understanding Fact Versus Fiction

December 05, 2008
By: Laurie Edwards for Scars1

Have you ever blamed an acne breakout simply on stress? You’re not alone. Almost 80 percent of people between the ages of 11 and 30 have experienced acne at some point in their lives, and many ideas abound about its cause. These misconceptions about what causes acne can sometimes seem as prevalent as the condition itself, and can make the experience of living with acne more difficult. To best treat acne and prevent its progression, it is important to sort through the myths surrounding its causes and focus on the facts.

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Tips on Treating Acne:

Some makeup or lotions can cause a rash that resembles acne, so be sure to speak with your physician about the facial products you use. 
While taking certain prescriptions can cause acne, coming off of other medications like birth control pills can also result in breakouts, so updating your dermatologist on all of your medications is important.
Pay attention to any patterns in your acne flares – does it get worse at certain points in the month, or when you’ve switched cleansers? All these details could be important clues for your physician.
Hygiene – Having acne has nothing to do with having a “dirty” face, and isn’t a reflection on your personal hygiene. In fact, people who worry about this and vigorously scrub their faces several times a day could actually irritate their skin make their acne worse. The best cleansing method is to gently rinse your face a couple of times a day with a mild soap or face wash.
Stress – Of course trying to control an outbreak or being embarrassed by acne can be stressful, but despite what many think, stress itself does not cause of acne. However, if a physician is treating you for severe stress, anxiety or depression, some prescriptions for these conditions could cause acne. Make sure you speak with your physician about your medication options if you suspect your acne is related to your prescription.
Diet – For all those people who have steered away from chocolate or greasy foods for fear they cause acne, there’s good news for you – scientists haven’t found a link between diet choices and acne. Still, if you notice your body reacts in certain ways to specific foods, then of course avoiding them may make sense for you. Remember, too, that a well-balanced diet is important for overall health and wellness.
Treatment – Many believe that acne, especially mild acne, just needs to run its course and will clear up on its own. However, even mild acne can leave scars, and with the variety of over-the-counter acne washes and creams and the help of a dermatologist, you don’t need to live with untreated acne if you don’t want to run that risk.
Seriousness – People tend to label acne as simply a cosmetic disease. While it is certainly true that acne doesn’t pose serious physical health problems, the fact that it can cause scarring and can have significant impact on people’s self-esteem and how they feel about their lives means it shouldn’t be trivialized, either.
So if these factors don’t cause acne, what is the culprit? Experts believe hormonal changes are related to most cases of acne, which is why it is so common during adolescence, pregnancy and other life stages. Fluctuations in certain hormones can make the glands in the skin produce more oil than normal, which can clog pores and lead to acne.
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